Woven textiles called mantas or aguayos are an essential craft among the indigenous Aymara and Quechua people of the Andes. Decorated with simple geometric patterns, mantas are used as blankets and baby slings, as well as tailored into clothing. Pieces of handwoven mantas are combined with soft red suede to create this versatile handbag. Velvet-lined straps prevent them from slipping off your shoulder. Features a flat bottom, magnetic clasp, and one inside zip pocket. As each manta is unique, please expect variation in color and pattern.
Poly lining. Handmade in Bolivia. 13 3/4"W x 11 1/2"H x 1 1/8"D; 23" straps.
Using a simple backstrap loom and centuries-old techniques, Bolivian families weave mantasbeautiful woolen textiles in geometric patterns. Common among pre-Inca and pre-conquest cultures such as the Aymara, some of the earliest mantas found in textile museum's collections date from 1400 A.D. Warm and durable, they are used as slings to carry infants and blankets for bedding. It can also be worn either on the back, like a cape, or over the back and arms, like a shawl. Mantas usually have a simple striped pattern, and can last for generations.
Like many indigenous art forms, fewer young people are learning how to weave, and the craft is in danger of losing its place in Andean culture. By finding new uses for mantas that increase the market and appreciation for these crafts more artisans are encouraged to continue the tradition. Today, exquisite vintage and contemporary woven mantas can be found as accents in leather bags, tailored jackets, and as culturally rich examples of indigenous art independent of their enduring practical use.